How do you decide on a specialty?


I found this site last night so forgive my 'newness' at posting threads. I graduated from college with a B.A nearly 10 years ago (ouch!!). I am hoping that things will work out for me that will enable me to go back to school. Nursing has always appealed to me on many levels and now that I might have the opportunity to return to school I'm trying to do as much research as I can.

This site has been absolutely wonderful but being that I don't know many people in my area (much less nurses) I am curious about many things. First off, how and when do you determine a specialty? Is it something you train for specifically in school or is it only on-the-job training? If you working in an area that you realize is not for you is it difficult to transfer to another area? How are the hours? I've heard about about the 4 - 12 hrs days and is that something that is manageable or draining?

Any feedback will be appreciated! I'm sure the longer I'm on this site the more information I will pick up :D

iPink, BSN, RN

1,414 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum. Has 10 years experience.

Welcome. As far as specialties you may know in Nursing School or even when you start working as an RN, you may find your niche during that time. You can take certifications to specialize.

Right now, don't worry about a specialty, focus on nursing programs and taking the prerequisites. You may want to do ADN or Accelerated BSN/MSN. Some with a previous degree have even done LPN.

You can also go to "Specialty" tab to find a particular specialty that may interested you. There are wonderful Advanced Practicing Nurses who love to help and give advice.


3 Posts

Thanks for the response!


49 Posts

Specializes in Orthopaedics. Has 6 years experience.

School does not allow for any real differentiation, so you graduate and look for work. Many nurses end up in a relatively generalized field like med/surg fora few years (should they go the hospital route). I've known nurses to go just about anywhere after school, though. The more time working, the more opportunities to specialize. To get designated as a specialty nurse, you have to work in that field for a specific amount of time anyway, so it really is about time after school vice time in. Good luck!


413 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

If it's possible for you, I would recommend volunteering at a hospital in different units to see what appeals to you and get a feel from nurses about their daily duties. Before I volunteered I was sure I wanted to work in a Stroke Unit, but after volunteering I found that Emergency was more of my style. The volunteering was a long committment (one year) but really helped me in the long run. I was able to network, and it looked good for nursing school.